A voice says, Stop. You're hurting her.
Another voice says, Do it more.
Leslie remembers: Everyone was laughing. I was crying to myself, but I had tears coming out of my eyes.
Leslie remembers: The boys say to her that this all must be our secret. We'll be mad at you if you talk about this, you'll get kicked out of your school, we'll tell your mother if you break our secret.
Then, all in a circle, they clasp one hand on top of the other, all their hands together, like a basketball team on the sidelines at the end of a timeout. Leslie would say, It was just like one-two-three win!
A voice says to Leslie, Hurry up. Go. Get out of here.
After Leslie leaves the basement, she waits a while outside the Scherzer house. Then she goes into the park. She waits there, walking back and forth between the baseball diamond and the basketball court. She waits and waits for Paul Archer, her dream date, to show up. He never does.
Right from the start, a group of boys in the class of '89 began a pattern of misbehavior that followed them through their schooling in Glen Ridge. The group included some budding athletes who would come to form the jock circle in the class. These boys were loud and defiant; even in grade school, they dominated other students with their raucous conduct.
That in itself wasn't unexpected. In many schools boys get more than their share of attention and create more than their share of discipline problems. In the fledgling class of '89, however, parents and teachers thought this pattern was more pronounced than usual. And in the face of this challenge, year after year teachers seemed more passive than they had been in the past. Some teachers, usually male, tolerated behavior from the boys that they would have punished had it come from a girl. Certain names turned up on school discipline reports with some regularity—Scherzer and Corcoran. Also, less frequently, Archer, Quigley and Grober.
In September 1981 all the students who would graduate in 1989 came together in one middle school, where they would spend the next four years. In the first year or so the jock clique—now drawing new members from all over town, not just one neighborhood—took on a personality. The group numbered 20 to 25 guys, plus 10 or 15 girls who buzzed around them.